Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last one out....

Lights are off, doors are locked and there's no sign of life. The hoose is rigged for Silent Running. It must be Hogmanay :o)

Hope you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010.

Awra best, people :o)

Bed now. Shhhhhh......

Friday, 4 December 2009

16 Candles

We joked he'd wake up with a full beard but there are no perceptible changes.

He's becoming a man but he'll always be The Boy. The best son a father could ever ask for.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


OMG i m gay. At least, that's what I thought it said. The "gamy" is a bit unfortunate on its' own, never mind potential anagrams.

OMM-i-gamy. What were they thinking?

Piss-taking potential aside, its' yet another example of OMMs' modular approach to carrying stuff. I like it a lot. Regular readers may have noticed various bottles turning up in photies and a complete lack of tubes sprouting from packs.

Spot the tube? :o)

I dallied with hydration systems a while back and never really got on with them. All that drinking-on-the-go stuff wasn't for me. I like to stop, have a few sips and have a look aboot. And it's an excuse to get my breath back, if I'm being honest :o)

Anyway, nobody's gonnae convince me that a plastic bag and some tubing is cooler-looking than a Black Sigg Oval.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Lost and Found

I went for a quick walk on Sunday. Not far by any means but just far enough to remind me of what I'm missing by sitting on the sofa, smoking fags & staring at the telly.

The Author. In Serious Mode.

Aye, more of the same, please.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

"We're in the pipe, five by five."

"Grab your gear, rookie. We're shippin' out."
"Shipping out to where, Sarge?"
"New Mombasa."
"New Mombasa? But......that's on Earth."
"That's right, kid. Seems The Covenant have decided to pay a little visit and the folks back home want us to throw the welcome party. You in?"
"Boots on the ground in 36 hours. See you down there."

His mind races. First time out as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. A Helljumper. Was he ready? Only one way to find out; put his boots on the line and get ready to drop.

Absolute Badass.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Happy Shepherds

After the week I've had, I was glad to see the back of it. That it went out in a blaze of colour kind of made up for it. And this settled weather looks like it might hang on for a wee while yet.


High Pressure. The nice kind.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Couldn't let 09/09/09 go by without posting something. I had something appropriate lined up but I'm fecked if I can remember where I put it.

Here's some numbers in the meantime.

Pure Awesomeness

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Nun Attack!!!

There's been a definite nip in the air these past few mornings. Autumn's nearly here and, this being Scotland, Winter won't be far behind. I'd been going through the gear pile and there's plenty of choice when it comes to warm stuff. A lot of it's synthetic and there's a few bits of down in there but there's always room for a bit more.

I had a PHD Yukon Pullover on the wish list but never got around to picking one up in the last sale. But, as luck would have it, I spotted something similar during an infrequent visit to OM. A quick bit of Googling and my mind was made up. Turns out the seller was the same guy that I'd bought the LIM 55 from, months ago. A couple of emails back and forth and a Nunatak Skaha Plus was mine.

Gear Porn

It's a custom job with an extra 2oz of down and a tunnel handwarmer pocket. It is, quite simply, stunning. Packs down small but lofts like an absolute bastard while tipping the scales at 440g. Team it with the PHD Minim 500 and I've got a bitchin' winter sleep-system.

Fuckin' awesome.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


The corn's been harvested and the baler's at work. Proper bales. Not those stoopid round ones. Can't build a fort out of them. Magic.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

"Ooo, Shiny!"

The first words I uttered on opening the box that arrived yesterday morning. The postie, bless him, was early and caught me just before I left for work. A good start to the day and on a Friday too.

It had been sent by Ed, one of the "Windy Boys" over on Outdoorsmagic. I'd dropped in there to enquire about something and it turned out that he had one spare. So, after a c
ouple of emails and a monetary exchange, a new Bushbuddy Ultra was mine.

I'd been thinking about getting one for a while now but was spurred into action by The Boy's love (and mine) of an open flame. Even though campfires aren't prohibited up here, it's still a bit off-putting when you're confronted by "Thou shalt not set fire to stuff!" notices at the start of your walk. This seems like a guilt free compromise*.

The Boy made me do it.

All we need now is a dry day before the schools go back so we can get out somewhere.

*The folding fire-box/Trench Mortar was deemed "A bit shite" and consigned to the Oddities box.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Be good to yourself

Getting presents from folk is awfy nice but you should never miss an opportunity to treat yourself too.Any excuse, eh? :o)

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Lay down your burdens

I've been meaning to write a few words about the LIM55 for the last few weeks but other than "It's great!", I can't think of anything else.

Oh awright then. I'll try.

It's a tremendously good bag.
Seriously, I can't fault it. Everything goes in with room to spare. The big, stretchy outer pockets take bottles, and tents, with ease. The roll-top closure is a piece of piss to use and that wee lid pocket is a work of quiet genius.

I hardly noticed it on my back. I put it on at the car and took it off several miles later with no adjustment in between. The harness and hipbelt are probably about the best out of any pack I've used and that includes the OMM packs I'm always banging on about. (Note probably. I need a few more trips yet)

Speaking of which, the OMM Chest Pouch fits nae bother and that makes me very happy indeed. That, and the wee pockets on the LIM's hipbelt, means that pretty much everything's to hand.

It does look like a sack o' tatties but I can forgive it that. Oh, and according tae The Boy, it goes with my boots, the Nike Tallacs. Matching bag and shoes? Disnae get better than that :o)

Friday, 5 June 2009

Sunday Post

I'd hoped that the wee box from Bob & Rose would've arrived on Saturday morning but it showed up on Sunday. When did posties start workin on the Sabbath?

Monday, 1 June 2009

Glen Derry Redux

It was all a bit last minute but, nearly a year to the day since the last time, me and The Boy headed to Braemar for a wee overnighter. We stopped off at Braemar Mountain Sports, stocked up on Honey Stingers and hit the road again. It's a nice wee drive up the glen wi' some splendid views.

Passing the Aktomobile at Inverey, we turned into the Linn o' Dee car park in no time at all. Packs on, it was a long, hot walk up to Derry Lodge but we passed the time talking about Geography no less :o)

There were a few folk about but we'd got the Ignorant Bastards out the way less than 10 minutes from the car park and everybody else was all happy and smiley.

I counted 11 tents dotted about the lodge but our pitch from last year was free so we bagged it again.

Tea, brews, banter and a wander up to the wee metal bridge followed. We hung about there for a bit and then walked back down on the opposite side of the river, spotting a deer, the only one we saw the whole trip.

It was all very relaxing until The Boy turned his ankle less than 20 feet from the tents. A short period of parental panic followed. I was running thru' various scenarios including how to explain to the MRT why it was that my child was wearing glorified trainers out here in the wilderness. Happily, a platy of cold water wrapped round it seemed to work and the swelling wisnae too bad.

We turned in late and slept late. No rush. Breakfast was taken on the riverbank, in warm sunshine. Magic :o)

The walk back was a tad on the hot side to say the least but it was enjoyable in a slightly masochistic way. Sad to say, it was way too hot for me to even consider a burger from The Hungry Highlander but a can of cold Irn Bru and some of The Boy's Chips'n'cheese hit the spot.

We were home less than 2 hours later and my beloved, bless her, had organised a wee barbie for our homecoming. What a crackin' weekend :o)

March or Die!

We were walking along in companiable silence when I noticed that I was mesmerised by my feet. Specifically, the wee puffs of dust that popped up with every footfall.

"You can actually see the heat rising", said The Boy.

"Aye. It's all a bit Foreign Legion", I replied.
Grinning, we strode on; the miles back to the car disappearing under our dusty boots.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Away mission

Away team to the shuttle bay. And nobody wear a red shirt FFS.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Dual purpose

I like stuff that works both on the hill & off. The stuff they gave us is pish IMHO. Pictured: limited edition Velez Adventure (Black, non reflective. Stealthy as f**k)

Weather: Changeable

Dear Weather Gods, Make your mind up.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Hail to the Master Chief

He stands on top of the communications bunker and looks out across the shallow valley. It's been half a standard year since he last stood on this very spot. Nothing's changed. Behind the mirrored visor, he smiles.

The crackle of small arms fire carries on the breeze but he hears a different song, an ancient one, of times long since past. "Good times".

Living easy, livin' free, Season ticket, on a one - way ride.

Reaching down, he pulls the turret gun from its' mount. "Time to go to work".

Asking nothing, leave me be. Taking everything in my stride.

Jumping down, he stalks forward. The weight of the gun slows him but there's no rush, he's savouring the moment. A pencil-thin beam flickers across his chest. He ducks behind a low rise as the full charge of the Spartan Laser blasts a shallow crater in the earth. "Missed, ya fucker".

Don't need reason, don't need rhyme Ain't nothing I'd rather do.

Moving from cover, he closes in. The big gun's triple barrel's stutter and become a roar as they spin up to full speed. The enemy begin to fall in ones and two's.

Going down, party time My friends are gonna be there too.

He's grinning now. This is why he comes here. This is who he is. As he falls upon them, his battle cry causes all to fall briefly silent; "'moan then, ya fannies!!!!"

I'm on the highway to hell. On the Highway to hell.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Rain stops play

Supplies arrived just in time, along with some pish weather. They'll keep.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

We have a winner

I declare Apricot & Sultana to be the tastiest of the varieties available round here. I'll take a box, thanks.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Radio Silence

The keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed the lack of activity here over the last month. Nothing sinister, simply taking a wee break from the Web outside of work hours. Not a complete break, just a lessening of online time.

Business as usual in the real world with the recent arrival of some new "shinies". My self-imposed "Sell something to buy something" rule is working well. It's all gone a bit Swap Shop here. It's keeping the gear mountain in check at any rate.


Nothing terribly exciting, a 1 Litre Nalgene HDPE Bottle, waste water for the disposal of. Handy for all sorts of occasions.

Seedhouse SL1

Spurred on by the success of the SL2 and favourable reviews over at ptc's, a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 plus footprint. I'd been swithering for the best part of a year but, now that I've seen it in the flesh so to speak, I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. The Boy and me are heading out in the next couple of weeks so I'll be taking this instead of the Laserlite.

There's a Haglofs LIM 55 and a Snow Peak Mini Solo cookset there that'll be coming along for the ride.

We're looking forward to it :o)

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Hard as.......

Nails. Titanium nails. 6 of them. And 6 of the more traditional "shepherds crook" type pegs. That's what arrived this week by way of those nice people at ultralightoutdoorgear. I reckon I'm now good to go for pitching on anything up to, and including, concrete.

Vargo Pegs

While I was shopping for pegs, I picked up another OMM Duomat. The one I've already got makes a fine sit-mat or, opened out, a loafing-mat. I used it under my Thermarest "three quarters" last time out as a wee bit of extra insulation from the ground, Two will be handy for those times I use a full length mat.


All 3 of my OMM bags are designed with carrying an extra Duo in mind so it'll be interesting to actually try it. Both fit neatly in the Jirishanca and there's no significant loss of available volume. I'll try it with the other 2 when I get a minute.

I can imagine getting away with using just the Duo's on their own somewhere soft and grassy but I seriously doubt I'm hardcore enough to do it anywhere else :o)

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Innov8 Roclite 390 GTX

It's a difficult thing, finding boots that fit. Like many others, I have one "odd" foot. I think it's the left one but it could be the right. One of them's a bit out of kilter with the other at any rate. So I'm well used to playing around with the fit;adjusting laces, one sock or two and so on.

The 390's need very little in the way of adjustment and that's a minor miracle in itself. I've been wearing them at work over the last week and they've been fine. At times, I forgot I was wearing them and that's always a good sign.

Roclite 390

I've got high hopes for these over the coming months but I'll reserve judgement until I've put some serious miles on them. Anyway, Chris Townsend likes them so they can't be that bad :o)

Saturday, 28 March 2009


It's breezy out. Almost Gale Force at times. I had half-a-mind to head out this weekend, not far, just somewhere local. My mental checklist (mental as in, the one in my head) always includes a windproof and has done for at least the last 8 or 9 years.

It was Chris Townsend's idea. I was reading TGO one day and he'd done a test on windproofs. They were, and I'm paraphrasing here, "One of the most useful & versatile items you can carry". That caught my attention and, the very next Saturday, I was off up to Summits to see what they had.

CT had recommended the Karrimor Vector Run and so that was the one I had to have. I couldn't see it on the racks. "Looking for anything in particular?" said Andy from behind the counter. "Karrimor Vector Run", says I. "What size?" says he. "Large, I think". "Two ticks", and off he went up the back stairs. After a bit of thumping from above, he trots back down bearing a tiny package. I was beaming. He even knocked a tenner off on account of me being a regular.

From L to R, Karrimor Vector, Paramo Fuera, Rab Quantum Windshhirt

I took it out the next day. And every other hill day for years after. That wee blue bundle's been over more hills than I can count. A constant companion no less. Even though others have come along since, it's never been fully put away. That flash of blue is there every time the door to the gear cupboard opens. It was however, put away dirty. There's still evidence of its' last outing. Some TLC is in order. And maybe a wee re-living of the old times when I was a full-on Hill Monster and not the procrastinating, any-excuse-to-stay-home lazy bastard I've turned into.

"Sorry it's late but.......Happy Birthday!!!"

I knew I'd forgotten something but I couldn't think what. It came to me when I was looking for something, down in the depths of my inane ramblings; my wee blog is 2. And a bit.

I was close with that last post but it slipped past, unnoticed, like a midget submarine in a Norwegian Fjord.

Never mind. Better late than never, that's what I say.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Keeping Bad Company

The real world outside the window is all grey, wet and miserable.

To a virtual one then. A couple of hours blowin' shit up should do it.


I hope he had insurance on that thing.

We're Oscar Mike. Husker, Out.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Joy Of Parcels

Nothing starts a Tuesday off like a wee trip to the Sorting Office. And when the package carries the mark of the US Postal Service the joy is palpable. Big packages or small, it's all good.

I don't buy from The States very often but when the stuff you seek can't be found here then it's over The Pond we go.

The contents were eagerly anticipated. The substance therein, my own personal Opium.


I tested a sample when I got to work. Pure, Grade A Caffiene. This stuff's the shit, man.

It kicks the arse of that Nescafe pish that I took with me last time out. I'm popping a few packets in the grub bag and then I'm away to check the MWIS.

Credit to John Manning & Darren for the enlightenment. Bless you.

Update : It occurred to me that, apart from a photie and a brief mention in the comments, folk might not know what the hell I'm talking about. It is, of course, Java Juice. And I should also point out that they're rubbish at answering emails. Rubbish in the sense that they don't. At all.

Sunday, 1 March 2009


Why is the Blogger editor so shite? I mean, seriously. Look at the state of that last post. That looked great in Live Writer and then Blogger mangled it. Why? Why does it do these things? Cause it's free, that's why so just STFU and get on wi' it.


Terra Nova Moonlite Bag Cover

I love my wee Laserlite, I really do, but a couple of things bother me; it's a tad cramped for a big lanky like myself and it's prone to a fair bit of condensation. Combine these things and you end up with a damp sleeping bag on account of me constantly coming in to contact with the inner, particularly at the foot end.

So, I'd been thinking of some kind of water-resistant cover. The Rab Survival Zone is a bit OTT so when I saw the Moonlite I thought, "That's the boy for me".*

TN Bivi

First impressions: It's light. Very light for what it is and packs up small, much smaller than the SZ. And it's simple, just a drawcord at the top that pulls the "hood" in nice & snug. There's enough room to let my Rab Quantum bag loft fully and it's long enough for me at 6'4".

TN vs Rab

Moonlite (Top) vs Survival Zone (Bottom)

So, looking good then. All I need to do now is make the time to get some serious Zeds in it.

*Credit to Matt by way of ptc's place for bringing it to my, and others, attention.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Pies and Vapour-Rise

Back to Pitlochry for some much-needed downtime. We ate well, mooched around the local gear shop (where I managed to not buy a Haglofs LIM Down Vest. Yaaay for me!!!) and then ate some more. It was braw.

We took a wander up to the wee loch at the top of the hill, just up from the hotel. The ducks were still there; they looked sad. The loch was all froze and everything. We went back this morning with some toast, snaffled from our breakfast and shared it out. That seemed to make them happy. We resolved to stock up on duck food before our next visit.


It's no' easy being a duck.

Ben Vrackie

Vrackie looking all snowy and rugged.

I nearly went home empty-handed but saw the light just in time and popped back into Escape Route for another wee nosey. The brightly coloured Optimus display had caught my eye yesterday so it would've been rude not to at least buy something.


Then, just to satisfy my curiosity like, I tried on a Rab VR Trail Stretch Top. I'd never worn one before and wondered about the fit. Glove-like, was the answer. The sleeves are nice and long too. And its' price reduced to not-very-much-at-all. It was all a no-brainer really.

Vapour Rise

Naturally enough, we also brought home a MacDonald's Steak Pie, so that's tea sorted.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Heavy Weather

There's some cold weather on the way. It is, according to the Beeb, coming all the way from Russia. Nobody's mentioned where in Russia but you can tell they're thinking Siberia. Maybe they don't want to panic the population just yet?

Such weather has of course never happened before. England and Wales are to be the worst affected with accumulations of up to 10 cm expected. 10 CMS!!!! The Welsh will be OK. Their thick skins, developed over the years as protection from the endless slagging by their neighbours, will save them. Our English cousins however, are fucked.

I can't bear to watch so I'll be sticking to the more obscure satellite channels until the glaciers retreat. Probably Thursday. Friday latest.

Thursday, 22 January 2009


Important things, pegs. The recent banter over at ptc*s place got me think about my own, admittedly small, collection. I keep meaning to add a couple of really long ones to anchor the ends of the Laserlite in really dodgy conditions but never seem to get around to it. I may purchase more this weekend.
From left to right: Vaude(V), Vango(V), Alpkit(V), Big Agnes(X), Clamcleats(Y)*, Golite(Y) & Terra Nova(r?)

Some of those are ripe for a bit of a drilling and some cordage. Sounds like a rainy day project to me.

*Tip o' the hat to Bigbanafeet for bringing these up by way of Petesy's place.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Talk of the town

I'm no' sure I believed her but when the waitress at the Little Chef in Spean Bridge told us we were the talk of Fort William, it had a certain air of plausability. Four days previously, we were effectively marooned by a Landie which decided that it didn't really fancy the long drive to Skye after all.

We sat in the Little Chef and considered our options; we could press on and risk catastrophic car failure in the middle of God knows where, call out recovery and go home or phone a garage and try and get it fixed.

These options were further limited by the fact that this was after lunchtime on Hogmanay and most of Scotland was effectively shut.

Praise be then to the wonderful folk who live up that way. Crissy the waitress offered to call out her man who was a mechanic & the manager of the LC gave us the numbers of a couple of local garages.

Charlie of Heathercroft Motor Engineers came to the rescue. He took the car for a quick spin and came back looking rather sad. It was, he said, "sick" and advised us to go no further. He could take us on to our destination but couldn't promise that the insurance company would pay to get us all the way home again, or he could just take us home.

Perhaps prompted by our sad wee faces, he then suggested a hire car. The place was shut but he knew the owner and might be able to persuade them to lend us something. It wasn't a long phone call but but it felt like an age. There was a glimmer of hope; the lassie in charge lived across the road from the showroom and was willing to meet us there. So I hopped in the van and Charlie gave me a hurl doon the road to Fort William. Holly of Ben Nevis Motors turned up shortly after Charlie had dropped me off and headed off to rescue some other poor unfortunate.

A quick DVLA check, a cash transaction and I had the keys to a shiny Ford Focus. Result! Back to Spean Bridge to pick up The Future Mrs D & The Boy and we were back on the road. 90 minutes later, and about 4 hours after we'd hoped to be there, we pulled up ootside our wee home for the next 4 days. It was awfy stressful and more than a tad expensive but ultimately worth it and everybody had a grand time.


Let's hear it for the nice folk who go that extra yard when they really don't have to.

Thanks people.